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Monday, July 2, 2012
Health Care Reform Defiance By Republican Governors Worries Hospital Industry
Republican governors like Rick Scott of Florida who say they will defy President Barack Obama and opt out of a planned expansion of Medicaid health coverage for the poor are setting up a fight with the health care providers in their own backyards.
But Obama and those uninsured people aren't the only ones who stand to lose. Hospitals that currently treat the poor for free in emergency rooms were counting on a broad expansion of health insurance coverage to cut down on the number of unpaid bills on their books. The American Hospital Association and other national industry groups endorsed the health care reform law, calculating that more insured people would make up for $155 billion in lower Medicare payments over a decade.
A smaller Medicaid expansion would be bad news for hospitals, especially in states like Florida and Texas with large numbers of uninsured people, according to Sheryl Skolnick, a health care equities analyst at CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn. "That risk is real and meaningful: the hospitals may end up paying for the poorest and sickest of today's uninsured anyway AND see cuts in Medicare and Medicaid on top of that," she wrote in a note to clients Friday.